In the June 2016 issue of The Great Outdoors Chris Townsend tested a range of bags for spring to autumn. Find out why he chose this as a Recommended buy


The latest version of the Xero 550, which has been around for quite a few years, has higher fill power down than previous versions and a lower comfort limit. It’s also slightly heavier but is still warm for the weight. In fact the only downside to this bag is the high cost. The top quality down fill is sourced according to Mountain Equipment’s Down Codex (thedowncodex.co.uk), which means it comes from geese that aren’t live-plucked or force-fed and you can trace the source of the down in your bag and check that it meets the standards of the codex.

The design of the Xero 550 is excellent. The top of the bag has elasticated stitching to help it hug the body to imRecommended logoprove warmth and cut out cold spots. The hood fits well and has an easy-to-use drawcord, as has the draft collar. The bag is one that moves with you as it’s quite close-fitting. Whilst the design is slanted towards back sleepers as shown by the elasticated stitching on the top and the ground level seams – which aren’t when you turn over with the bag – I found it was very comfortable when sleeping on my front and on my side.

The Xero 550 is expensive but it is a well made, well-designed lightweight bag that should last a long time.

Overview

  • Overall: 4 out of 5

Pros: Warmth for weight, elasticated stitching, hood

Cons: expensive

  • Price: £440
  • Weight: 1070g
  • Fill: 550g of 850+ fill power down
  • Shell: Helium 30 nylon
  • Construction: slanted box wall, elasticated stitching
  • Zip: two-way, 3/4 length
  • Sizes: two
  • Rating: comfort -1°C, comfort limit -8°C
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